Interesting article. However, the main premise seems flawed to me. If I purchased a computer simply and only for playing games, I very likely would be lured towards something like the Xbox, or any one of the other cartridges out there.
However, the fact is most people use their computers for more than just games, and it makes little sense to spend $2,000 on a computer for one purpose, then $400 on another, less flexible computer for another purpose -- especially when both purposes can be achieved on the $2,000 dollar computer.
Technical incompatibilities and the array of hardware choices do cause problems, especially in the game market, but that's the price of doing business in the gaming world, and any company that drops PC development in favor of an exclusively console-based development strategy is bound to have problems.
In the end, the only people I see who will go the Xbox route are people already in the console game market. The rest, it seems to me, have already decided it makes no sense to buy a game computer when their existing system works just fine. The Xbox will do nothing to change their minds.
-- Lyle Bateman
Microsoft has been a leading contributor to bloatware for more than a decade, and has little if any experience with hardware. How Au expects Microsoft to develop a lean, efficient, multi-threaded, multitasking, real-time OS that handles not only scene rendering but also video display and multi-channel sound generation that will run on a less than top-of-the line processor, in addition to designing hardware to support it that will sell, with DVD reader and hard drive, for under $300 escapes me. I suppose Microsoft could execute a 180 degree turn and achieve warp speed to catch up to the other game manufacturers. I doubt it will happen. More likely, this is another ploy to delay the defection of gamers from the PC to other game platforms, so Microsoft can sell another few million copies of Windows.
-- J. Wilwerding
After reading the article, I was somewhat miffed that Wagner James Au completely failed to mention Apple Computers.
Au's chief complaint against the PC as a gaming platform is that the hardware present can vary widely (i.e., graphics chips, sound cards and processors). The PowerMac, iMac and their portable kin are highly standardized -- probably the only differences one will find among systems is the graphics card (ATI and VooDoo being the most common, though).
This standardization makes Apple's computers the ideal gaming platform. With the advent of OS X, many *NIX developers and even Windows developers will easily be able to convert to Apple. The affordable price of the iMac (starting at $799, fully functional) -- Apple's self-proclaimed "consumer computer" -- makes the Macintosh an even more ideal gaming computer.
-- Josh Franklin